Flower Mound 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer
Large trucks like 18-wheelers are a common sight on the highways near Flower Mound, TX. These vehicles haul cargo including food products, retail goods, raw materials, and industrial equipment. As the Texas economy grows, more 18-wheelers are needed to support all kinds of businesses.
Unfortunately, with more 18-wheelers on the road, the accident rate also increases. Although car accidents still outnumber truck accidents, crashes involving large vehicles like 18-wheelers are often more deadly. Additionally, the majority of people killed or seriously injured by 18-wheelers are passengers in cars and smaller trucks. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), over 4100 people were killed in large truck accidents in 2018 alone.
Even if you survive, getting hit by an 18-wheeler can have life-altering consequences. Many individuals suffer severe injuries that prevent them from leading a normal life. The experience can also be deeply traumatic.
If you’re in an accident with an 18-wheeler in Flower Mound, contact our law firm by calling (214) 305-8277. Our accident lawyers can assist you. We’ll make sure you know your rights after an accident and help you determine your next steps. Consultations are 100% free and 100% confidential. If we do take your case, you won’t be charged for our services unless we help you win.
18-Wheeler Accident Danger
The term “18-wheeler” describes a large commercial transport vehicle with multiple axles and 18 wheels (or more). Also known as a semi-truck, tractor-trailer, or big rig, these trucks are often the biggest vehicle on the road. On average, an 18-wheeler is 13.5 feet tall, 8 feet wide, and 70-80 feet long. They can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when carrying a full load.
This size and weight makes these vehicles much more dangerous than normal cars and trucks. In a crash, the truck driver is also more protected than drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles. That’s why 18-wheeler accidents are often fatal for other cars.
It’s also important to understand the impact force in an 18-wheeler accident. Impact force refers to the amount of damage inflicted by one vehicle onto another vehicle at the moment of a collision. To calculate impact force, we multiply the weight of a vehicle by its speed.
Consider an accident involving a 3500-pound sedan traveling at 35mph. The impact force in this crash scenario is 122,500 Newtons (a unit of force named after Sir Isaac Newton, the “founding father” of physics).
Now imagine this same accident involving an 18-wheeler weighing 80,000 pounds. At the same speed, the 18-wheeler delivers 2,800,000 Newtons of impact force. This extra force can mean the difference between an accident resulting in injuries, and an accident resulting in death.
Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents
18-wheeler accidents occur for many reasons. They can be caused by environmental factors, driver negligence, mechanical issues, or other drivers. While some 18-wheeler accidents can be prevented, others are unavoidable.
Understanding the causes of an 18-wheeler accident can help you protect yourself. This can also help you understand your role in an accident and whether or not you share liability for the crash.
The following factors are common causes in 18-wheeler accidents in Texas:
18-wheelers use a unique, specially engineered braking system known as an air brake. This allows the truck driver to have greater control over their cargo trailer. Unfortunately, air brakes are slower than the brakes on a car. From the moment the trucker brakes, it takes several seconds before the 18-wheeler comes to a full stop. Depending on its speed, an 18-wheeler may need the length of 3 football fields to fully stop.
Unfortunately, this long stopping distance can lead to accidents because the 18-wheeler can’t react quickly to sudden hazards in the road. If there’s a stalled car, a fallen branch, or other obstructions, the truck driver may not be able to stop in time to avoid hitting it. If they brake too early, they can lose control of their vehicle and cause an accident by jackknifing or rolling over.
Blind spots are another common cause of 18-wheeler truck accidents. Due to their size, large trucks have greater blind spots than small cars. Many accidents occur when a car or another vehicle lingers in the driver’s blind spots. The 18-wheeler may collide with the other vehicle because they don’t see them.
If you approach an 18-wheeler, be aware of the driver’s limited visibility. Remember, if you can’t see the driver in their side-view mirror, they probably can’t see you. Additionally, large trucks like 18-wheelers have blind spots 20 feet in front of the cab, 30 feet behind the trailer, one lane to the driver’s left, and two lanes to the driver’s right. Always pass on the left or use a designated passing lane to stay out of the truck driver’s blind spots.
Other Common Causes
18-wheeler accidents can also be caused by mechanical issues, poor weather, and negligent driving. For example, a truck driver who becomes fatigued or drives under the influence may cause an accident. These factors cause the driver to lose control of their vehicle, lower reaction time, and impair judgment.
What to Do After an 18-Wheeler Accident
If you get hit by an 18-wheeler, don’t panic. Assess yourself and your passengers. Was anyone injured in the crash? If so, seek medical attention right away. Call 911 to request an ambulance if an injured party cannot move.
Next, exchange information with the 18-wheeler’s driver. Be sure to get their employer’s information, as well. In many commercial truck driving accidents, the driver’s employer shares liability for damages. You may be able to sue if the accident occurred due to mechanical problems because the trucking company is often responsible for maintenance.
Then, when you’re in a safe place away from the accident site, seek help from a lawyer. Call our Flower Mound, TX law office to request a free consultation at (214) 305-8277. We’re here to assist drivers just like you.